All posts tagged with "the steamball is gearsteaming into the cogwhizzle"

Hatpack It! aka Subtractive Design

We have these little turns of phrase to represent design concepts. One such phrase going back to Dredmor is “put it in the Hat Pack”. I consider this a form of subtractive design.

So: The Hat Pack is an expansion pack for the game you’re working on which is shrouded in the mists of the future yet-to-be. (And as the name suggests, the content is a bunch of useless hats.) You put a feature or idea into the Hat Pack when you need to kill it, cut it, remove it from the game; but you don’t have the heart to kill it. So you quietly put it in the Hat Pack and shove it at the back of a closet to be slowly forgot.

(Or not. I want to say that features have legitimately been revived from the Hat Pack, but the notable example that comes to mind is the facial hair equipment slot for Dredmor that involved a bunch of false beards and mustaches to enhance your powers. Never happened.)

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The Power Of Names

Pictured: Smugly Working, arch-criminal mastermind, ne'er-do-well, and blaggard of the Frontier.

Smugly Working; arch-criminal mastermind, general ne’er-do-well, and all-around blaggard of the Empire’s Colonial Frontier.

As we learned in the You Have To Name The Expansion Pack expansion pack to Dredmor which you had to name, names have power. Characters in Clockwork Empires, like Dredmor expansion packs, have names. So what names ought to be given to these people? And how? As fun as it’d be to make up hundreds of Victorian Steampunk names by hand, we have the technology to make robots do the work for us using the power of procedural content generation.

Mind you, procedural content is not a magical solution to all problems. It may indeed involve actual design work to fit interestingly, much less well, into a hypothetical game. So, naming: the care we put into the raw feedstock of the the Hypno-Pneumatic Name-o-Tron very much determines the quality of its denotative extrusions. And here at Gaslamp Games, we intend to provide only the finest extrusions, thick with nuance, speckled by nodules of intertextuality, and offset by an effervescence of whimsy.

The extruder.

An extrusion unit.

This raw name-feedstock creates flavour, theme, & narrative for Clockwork Empires. What’s all this then, story in a procedurally generated sandbox game? – Well, sure! Even though, as usual, we’re just making it up as we go along, there are certain vaguely insinuated guidelines to respect. A bit of structure can be put in place to support a certain range of narratives, if you will, which can be quite enabling to players. We give you a delightful setting and a nudge on the back, you make the game your own from there on out.

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